Keppie Design

Keppie Design to close two Scottish offices

Keppie DesignArchitecture firm Keppie Design is to close studios in Aberdeen, Perth and Manchester in a bid to “dramatically reduce” its costs.

The practice, which posted a £528k pre-tax loss to 31 July 2015, said 25 jobs were at risk of redundancy and is currently consulting with those affected.

Offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness will remain unaffected.

Keppie is behind the design of the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) though a spokeswoman for the company insisted there was “absolutely no impact at all on the AECC project as this is – and always has been – run from Keppie’s Glasgow office”.

Keppie's plan for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

Keppie’s plan for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

Construction on the 12,500-capacity venue is expected to start in July and be completed by spring 2019.

A spokesperson for Keppie Design said: “After careful consideration, we have chosen to restructure the business and are currently in consultation with 25 employees in Aberdeen, Manchester and Perth on the proposed closure of these offices.  This period of consultation started on Wednesday 1 June will last until Wednesday 15 June.

“It is important to highlight that Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness offices and staff will not be affected by this. It is also important to emphasise that this decision has been made to strengthen the business and allow us to move forward from an even more solid and more secure base. Keppie Design has a great heritage, a very talented team who are involved in lots of exciting projects, and have a bright future ahead. The proposal to close these three offices would dramatically reduce our overheads, allowing us to protect the business for the future and move forward from a position of increased stability.”

Keppie Design currently employs 53 architects spread across seven UK offices. In March the firm forged an alliance with Stride Treglown and Todd Architects known as 431 Architecture this was a bid to help them win significant new business.

Curtain rises for The Capitol in Aberdeen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKnight Property Group and M&G Real Estate have celebrated the completion of The Capitol office development in Aberdeen.

At the grand opening of the building last week, guests were greeted to one last cinematic experience before the building begins operating as an office.

From a cinema, to a theatre and latterly a bar and night club, The Capitol theatre closed its doors in 2008. Laying derelict until Knight Property Group and M&G made the purchase in 2013, the building was left in a state of disrepair. Suffering from years of neglect, the iconic art deco building was left unrecognisable suffering from vandalism and the ingress of water.

Keeping The Capitol’s original features within the front of house was a high priority. Over the 22 month period, both Knight Property Group and main contractor Andrew Cowie Construction worked to ensure that the building was restored to its former glory, refurbishing the canopy entrance and inner vestibule doors, art deco light fittings and clocks, pilasters and motifs.

James Barrack, managing director of Knight Property Group, said: “At the heart of the Capitol redevelopment is a desire to bring new life to an iconic but derelict building. Incorporating the old with the new, we have worked closely with the project architects, Keppie Design, to ensure that the building seamlessly moves from the 1930’s art deco front of house into the column free grade A office space in the back.

“I don’t think we appreciated at the time the level of damage which had occurred over years of neglect. The difference from purchase to completion is astounding. It’s a proud moment within my career knowing that we have restored an Aberdeen landmark to its former glory.”

The top floor has been pre-let to Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Keppie Design forms alliance with Stride Treglown and Todd Architects

Martin English, director at Keppie Design

Martin English, director at Keppie Design

Three of the UK’s top architectural practices have announced they are to form a unique alliance that they believe will help them win significant new business.

Stride Treglown, Keppie Design and Todd Architects will join forces to create 431 Architecture which will offer clients access to 18 studios and a team of over 500 staff covering the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland.

Keppie's plan for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

Keppie’s plan for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

The new venture does not constitute a merger, instead each practice will continue to operate independently, but will combine forces when there is an opportunity to offer an enhanced service to new or existing clients. This could include large scale UK-wide projects or frameworks which the practices would not have undertaken on their own.

The alliance will cover 4 countries (England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales), combining 3 established practices, with 1 ethos – to deliver an excellent, responsive, approachable and people-focused architectural design service.

David Hunter, chairman of Stride Treglown

David Hunter, chairman of Stride Treglown

With 18 studios, from Inverness to Truro, London to Dublin, and Belfast to Cardiff, employing over 500 people, 431 Architecture would place as an entity in the top five of the Architects’ Journal’s top 120.

With a broad portfolio of award winning projects covering all the key markets, including healthcare, education, residential and commercial property, the alliance will now be able to offer skills and services to clients across a much wider geographical area.

Heartlands, Stride Treglown's multi award winning heritage visitor attraction in Cornwall

Stride Treglown’s Heartlands heritage visitor attraction in Cornwall

David Hunter, chairman of Stride Treglown, said: “We are really excited about the prospects for this venture. Each of us has a strong and established reputation in our own right, but our approach and values are very similar, so together this Alliance has the potential to become a really significant presence in UK architecture.”

Martin English, director at Keppie Design, said: “We believe that 431 Architecture will open up a new range of business opportunities for us, allowing us to share knowledge and expertise and pool our resources. The Alliance will give Clients, consultants and contractors a new and exciting option to consider when looking at UK-wide projects or frameworks – particularly in the healthcare and education sectors where each of the three practices has a fantastic track record.”

Paul Crowe, director at Todd Architects

Paul Crowe, director at Todd Architects

Paul Crowe, director at Todd Architects, added: “The potential for 431 Architecture is to build on the collective expertise and knowledge of our respective practices. Anyone working with 431 can expect design excellence and a responsive local service from a team of very experienced, approachable and talented people who share the same vision and cultural approach. I am really looking forward to developing this Alliance, which I strongly believe will help all three practices to grow and diversify.”

Representatives from all three companies involved in 431 Architecture will be attending MIPIM 2016 – the international real estate show – in Cannes, France this week from 15th -18th March.

The new Belfast Waterfront Exhibition and Conference Centre by Todd Architects

The new Belfast Waterfront Exhibition and Conference Centre by Todd Architects

Keppie Design appoints new managing director

Peter Moran

Peter Moran

Architecture practice Keppie Design has appointed Peter Moran as its new managing director.

Peter Moran, who will replace Martin English in the role, is a well-known and highly successful Scottish architect with a 25 year track record of UK and international projects.

An executive board director of Keppie, Peter currently manages all public sector activities for the six studio practices across the UK.

David Hardie, Keppie Design’s chairman, said: “We’re delighted that Peter has accepted the managing director’s role. He brings a wealth of talent and experience to the fore of the business, not just from a Scottish perspective, but from projects he has successfully delivered across the UK and overseas.

“We’d also like to acknowledge and thank Martin English for his eight years’ service in the MD role. Martin, who is based in Perth, will now be concentrating on developing Keppie’s Perth and Inverness studios and will also have a particular focus on the growth and successful establishment of our recently opened studio in Aberdeen.”

Peter Moran, who has spent over 25 years at Keppie, added:  “I’m honoured and humbled to have been offered this exciting and challenging role by the Keppie board. I’m proud to be part of a continuing heritage that goes way back to 1854 and includes such luminaries as John Keppie, John Honeyman and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. With 6 studios, 160 people in our team and several award winning projects, I look forward to the challenge of developing and driving the business forward.”

New East Lothian community hospital gets planning go-ahead

East Lothian Community HospitalEast Lothian Council’s Planning Committee has today granted planning permission for the building of a new community hospital at Roodlands, Haddington.

The new hospital, being developed by East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Lothian, will deliver a modern new hospital for local people.

The Keppie Design penned development will bring more services back to the county which are currently located in other areas and will provide a sixty per cent increase in inpatient beds.

Work is expected to start on the new hospital by late 2016 and it will welcome its first patients in 2019.

Morrison Construction has been named preferred contractor by hub South East Scotland on behalf of NHS Lothian for the £72 million project.

Morrison will deliver the 23,000 square metre facility and the company’s facilities management business has been appointed preferred bidder to provide ongoing hard facilities maintenance and lifecycle management to the hospital.

East Lothian Community HospitalMorrison’s parent company Galliford Try said this contract will be worth around £32m over the 25-year period. Galliford will also be investing and providing management services to the company which will be set up to fund the project.

Chief executive Peter Truscott said: “This appointment demonstrates the capabilities of our combined offering across construction, facilities management and investments and we look forward to working with hub South East Scotland and NHS Lothian to create the top class facilities the local public deserve.”

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership’s, chief officer, David Small, said: “I am delighted that we have received planning permission for this exciting project.

“These plans will see a purpose-built hospital developed, helping improve the quality of care for people in East Lothian.

“It will also bring a significant number of services back to the county, so that people can be treated closer to their homes and in their community.

“The planning process has involved lots of consultation with local people, as is only right with a project of this nature. We are now focused on finalising our business case for the project and we will have this to the Scottish Government for approval by this summer.”

East Lothian Community Hospital gardenEast Lothian Integration Joint Board (IJB), Chair, Councillor Donald Grant, added: “This is a great day for local people. The community hospital is a reality – a new fit-for-purpose 21st Century facility will be opening its doors in the next three to four years. Roodlands and Herdmanflat hospitals have done a great job for many, many years but, with our growing and changing population profile, things have to change.

“It’s the vision of the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership in action – best heath, best care, best value for our communities – and I, for one, am looking forward to its arrival. I’d like to thank David and his team for all the very hard work they have put in to get us this far.”

East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Lothian have been working with development partner Hub South East Scotland to develop this new project.

Chief executive of Hub South East Scotland, Paul McGirk, said: “We are excited to reach another key milestone, allowing us to further progress the development, design and construction of this facility.

“We look forward to continuing this successful working relationship, helping NHS Lothian and the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, deliver on their strategic aims, and providing modern, fit-for-purpose healthcare facilities for local residents.”

The Outline Business Case for the project is now being finalised and this will set out exact costs, hospital services and timescales for the project.

This will be submitted to the Scottish Government for approval later in 2016.

Keppie unveils proposals for 28 storey hotel tower in Edinburgh

Ocean Terminal hotel plansPlans to build a 28-storey hotel at the Waterfront in Edinburgh have been unveiled.

Ocean Terminal and Hodder Planning held a public consultation this week into proposals for the 96m tower which would be situated to the north east of the existing waterfront shopping mall.

If approved, the hotel would be the tallest building in Edinburgh.

Another public consultation is set for February 24 between 15:30 and 19:30 on the ground floor of Ocean terminal outside Debenhams.

Architects at Keppie Design said the vision was to provide a “focal point” for the regeneration of the surrounding area but stressed the plans are still in their early stages.

A project spokesman told The Scotsman: “In response to market interest, Keppie have been commissioned to develop options for a new hotel on the waterfront in Leith Docks, adjacent to Ocean Terminal.

“Initial studies have been prepared for the purposes of discussing the potential scale of the proposal and we are reviewing these with the local community in advance of submitting an application for planning permission in principle.

“The comments made by the community will inform the development of the design going forward.

“It’s a really exciting project that has the potential to provide a focal point for the regeneration of a uniquely situated area of Edinburgh, one graced with great restaurants and bars and set against the backdrop of a busy working dock.”

A planning application will follow in March although construction won’t commence until a hotel operator is found.

SECC hotel and apartment plans lodged

View from Finnieston Street

View from Finnieston Street

Plans have been submitted for a mixed use development of two hotels and serviced apartments at the entrance to Glasgow’s SECC complex.

Drawn up by Keppie Design on behalf of Chesterpeak Developments, the project comprises a four star hotel of 203 bedrooms and a three star hotel containing 190 bedrooms and 35 serviced apartments.

View from SSE Hydro public realm area

View from SSE Hydro public realm area

Split into two distinct areas, the development will see an 11 storey four star hotel built on Stobcross Street incorporating restaurant and bar accommodation to serve hotel guests and SECC visitors, full floor of flexible meeting room accommodation and a link at second floor level with the existing multi-storey car park.

The neighbouring three star hotel facing Finnieston Street will also include commercial, retail and leisure facilities.

Ministers to re-consider Midlothian film studio plans

StudioThe Scottish Government is to call-in plans for a £140 million film and television studio development in Midlothian after a U-turn by ministers.

Developer PSL Land Ltd had requested its proposal was examined by ministers after it claimed the local authority had failed to decide on the campus within their stated time frame.

However, after initially rejecting this plea, the Scottish Government now deems the studio to be of “national significance” and will use its Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals to rule on the application.

Planned for soon to be delisted greenfield land to the west of the A701 at Straiton, the Keppie-designed facility would be Scotland’s first purpose-built film studio complex.

If approved, the complex will be comprised of sound stages, backlots, a film school, hotel, student accommodation and energy centre. A studio tour building and a mixed use development could follow.

The developer’s intentions are for part of the complex to be operational by Autumn 2017.

Councillors approve £333m Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

06a smallAberdeen’s £333 million Exhibition and Conference Centre has been given full approval by councillors.

Developer Henry Boot will build a new exhibition centre, a 200-bedroom hotel and clean energy power station on the site of the former Rowett Research Institute in Bucksburn.

The new AECC by Keppie Design will provide four times the current exhibition space and increase the seating capacity from 4,750 to 10,000. The council said the complex is expected to attract 31,000 new business tourists to Scotland every year.

The council’s development committee approved the project on Thursday after the financial plan was backed by the full council in March.

07 smallA separate application for planning permission in principle to build approximately 498 residential units with commercial space, a recycling centre and a park and ride facility on the existing AECC site at Bridge of Don, was also approved.

Aberdeen City Council’s convener of planning development management, Councillor Ramsay Milne, said: “The new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre will be a state-of-the-art facility that will help to ensure Aberdeen competes with other major cities, not just within Scotland and the UK, but internationally with other global energy capitals.

“The addition of the energy centre with the anaerobic digestion plant provides an innovative element to the project. It will provide power but also, along with the hotel, provide an income stream that will help to cover the cost of the development.”

AECC-Internal-View-of-Club-LoungeNick Harris, director of Henry Boot Developments, said: “I am absolutely delighted that our plans for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, hotel and energy centre at Bucksburn were granted full planning permission today by Aberdeen City Council.

“This if fantastic news for Aberdeen and for Scotland and is a major milestone for this project, which will provide a platform for sustainable economic growth for this area.

“The AECC will deliver excellent architectural, urban and landscape design, providing a venue which is a key element of the business structure needed to promote Aberdeen as a World Energy City and the Energy Capital of Europe.

“Over the next ten years, the new AECC is expected to create hundreds of jobs, attract major artists to the city, and contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113m of visitor spend and £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy.

“I am now looking forward to construction work commencing on the new AECC building so we can all see it progress over the coming months.”

06b smallThe new exhibition and conference centre will have a gross floor space of 45,000sqm, with subterranean space of 33,600sqm including a concourse and retail, leisure and restaurant use.

The building has been designed to provide many flexible spaces comprising a 9,000sqm multi-purpose arena that could host a large range of exhibition, entertainment and sporting events and a 6,000sqm multi-purpose sub-divisible exhibition hall and a number of conference facilities.

A 31,000sqm semi-subterranean space below the main central square will provide additional exhibition space for major events.

The 200-bedroom four-star hotel will connect to the AECC at ground floor concourse and first floor conference suite levels. The hotel will also have bars and restaurants as well as conference and spa facilities.

A range of income streams have been identified, including the hotel, car parking and energy centre.

The development costs have been significantly offset by the income streams – calculations of which have been based, in part, on industry standard occupancy figures for hotels.

06c smallThe energy centre will provide enough electricity, heating and cooling for the entire site, while the anaerobic digestion plant will generate an income by feeding bio-methane into the gas grid.

The income streams are expected to reduce the cost of the facility to an estimated average of £100,000 per year over the life of the 35-year strip lease.

At the end of the lease agreement, the council will be entitled to purchase the AECC development, including the land, for £1.

The annual subsidy paid for the existing facility at Bridge of Don will not be required for the new AECC, saving the council £1.3million per annum.

The decision to grant planning permission for the AECC at Bucksburn will be subject to a number of conditions, covering a range of areas including landscaping, access, noise mitigation, waste management and environmental protection.

The plans for the existing Bridge of Don site have been approved conditionally, with permission to be withheld pending suitable arrangements to secure affordable housing and developer contributions relating to primary education, community facilities, sports and recreation, open space and the Strategic Transport Fund.

The proposal will be subject to one or more further planning applications for the detailed scheme, which will be considered at a later date.

The conference centre is expected to open in late 2018.

Scottish Government rejects plea to call-in £140m Midlothian film studio

StudioThe Scottish Government has rejected a request to call-in plans for a £140 million film and television studio development in Midlothian.

Developers PSL Land Ltd’s attempt to speed up a planning decision on their proposals was made after it claimed the council failed to decide on the campus within their stated time frame.

Planned for soon to be delisted greenfield land to the west of the A701 at Straiton, the facility would be Scotland’s first purpose-built film studio complex.

However, after Midlothian Council delayed its decision on the scheme, PSL wrote to the Scottish Government to “call in” the plans and consider them.

The request was sent to Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for social justice and communities.

However, the developers had their bid rejected.

In the reply, from the Local Government and Communities Directorate, Planning and Architecture Division, the developers were told that ministers – who have the power to call in any live planning application for determination – would only do so if the proposal “raised issues of genuine national interest.”

The letter goes on: “Having considered the information available for this proposal and while noting the major potential of the proposal and the intended delivery of an energy centre and film studio for Scotland; Ministers do not propose to call-in the application at this time.”

The developers are now appealing the decision.